Hope in Hell Book Cover

 

The message in this book is one of hope. Porritt, and many other experts believe that this decade will be crucial if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Porritt argues that there is reason to be hopeful because we already have the knowledge and solutions required to address climate change in ways that could halve global emissions by 2030.

The first part of Hope in Hell summarises the science behind the state we are in, who is responsible, and what the consequences might be if we do not act now. The second part explores the knowledge and technology already available to us that we could use to mitigate these consequences. The big solution Porritt proposes is a massive ramping up of the renewables sector.

In this book Porritt authoritatively summarises our current perilous state and suggests how it must be addressed right now, through technical solutions and political activism. He says, “I’ve come to the conclusion that we have no choice: without mass civil disobedience, at this very late stage, I cannot see any other way of avoiding that threat of runaway climate change.”

Pride of Baghdad book cover

 

“Published almost 20 years ago, this graphic novel still feels frighteningly current. Pride of Baghdad focuses on the events of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and bombing of Baghdad. During the bombardment, the once-thriving city zoo was left abandoned. Reportedly many animals starved to death, while others were stolen by looters, and yet others – among them a small group of lions – managed to escape. This pride of lions reportedly roamed the ruins of the city for several days until they were discovered by US soldiers. ‘Pride of Baghdad’ imagines the dreams, fears, and misadventures of these creatures in the days before their death – spoiler, they (like so many innocent victims of that conflict) all perish in the end. 

To give you just a quick flavour of the story, our four anthropomorphised lions – Noor, Ali, Safa, and Zill – all have different take on the current circumstance. Thrust into the wide world, some embrace freedom while others long to return to the safety of captivity. We see flashbacks to traumatic events and dreams of brighter futures, but at its heart this is a simple tale of one family’s desire to find a home. This desire is shattered, however, by the realisation that the land has been ravaged by decades of conflict. There is no peace, no wilderness, no home to be found. There is only oil, and war. 

The brilliance of Vaughan’s storytelling here is in something I like to call ‘obvious-subtlety’. Like Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and Adams’s ‘Watership Down’, these so-called creature-fables are told through the eyes of the non-human, creating a distance which softens the blow of tragedy and invites the reader to fill the gap with their own experience. There’s no hiding the truth of what’s happening, after all, one of the thrills of a graphic novel is that it’s graphic. One particular panel shows an exploding giraffe – quite possibly the definition of non-subtle. But also, the author isn’t trying to force-feed you any kind of ideology. The message may be subtle, but the medium delivers it with obvious, through sometimes blunt, precision. And while bluntness may not be the best way to change the world, generations of activists have proven that sometimes we need hammers just as much as we need poems to shatter the walls around us.

– Philip Webb Gregg 



Gigantic Beard that was evil book cover

 

Who was it that said the best way to teach a lesson is to tell a story? Whoever it was, I don’t doubt they would take their hat off to Collins. 

What exactly is the lesson? I’ve no idea, but I know that by the time you put this graphic novel down you’ll be changed. Something inside you will click and unlock, and you’ll be more open-minded afterwards. Perhaps the lesson is simply to embrace ‘the other’, or to rigidly reject authoritarianism, or perhaps it’s just that you let things that wish to grow, grow. 

The Gigantic Beard that Was Evil’ tells the story of an island where everything is ordered. A land ruled by straight lines and schedules, where everyone lives in neat little houses with neat little lawns. That is until our protagonist, Dave the everyman, finds himself utterly overcome by a huge, unstoppable and monstrous beard. Oh dear, chaos has arrived at the island. 

Told through gentle but well-crafted rhyme and illustrated in stunning black and white crosshatch perfection, this book should be on everyone’s shelves. It’s both beautifully surreal and deeply, sadly real. And best of all, it’s funny enough to make Road Dahl wet himself. 

– Philip Webb Gregg

 

Losing Earth Book Cover

 

“Nearly everything we understand about global warming was understood in 1979,” writes novelist Nathaniel Rich. His masterful analysis of how the oil industry has known for decades about the existential danger created by its core product, and actively buried its findings, makes for sombre but necessary reading. Based on an article the novelist wrote for the New York Times, it lays bare the hypocrisy of industry-funded scientists and the opportunism of a political system which puts profit before human life.  



Everybody Needs Beauty book cover

 

Everybody is talking about the healing properties of nature. Hospitals are being retrofitted with gardens, and forests reimagined as wellbeing centres. On the Shetland Islands, it is possible to walk into a doctor’s surgery with anxiety or depression, and walk out with a prescription for nature.

Where has this come from, and what does ‘going to nature’ mean? Where is it – at the end of a garden, beyond the tarmac fringes of a city, at the summit of a mountain? Drawing on history, science, literature and art, Samantha Walton shows that the nature cure has deep roots – but, as we face an unprecedented crisis of mental health, social injustice and environmental devastation, the search for it is more urgent now than ever.

Everybody Needs Beauty engages seriously with the connection between nature and health, while scrutinising the harmful trends of a wellness industry that seeks to exploit our relationship with the natural world. In doing so, this book explores how the nature cure might lead us towards a more just and radical way of life: a real means of recovery, for people, society and nature.



Brilliant Abyss Book Cover

 

The deep sea is the last, vast wilderness on the planet. For centuries, myth-makers and storytellers have concocted imaginary monsters of the deep, now scientists are looking there to find bizarre, unknown species, chemicals to make new medicines, and to gain a greater understanding of how this world works.

The Brilliant Abyss tells the story of our relationship with the deep sea – how we imagine, explore and exploit it. It captures the golden age of discovery we are currently in and looks back at the history of how we got here, while also looking forward to the unfolding new environmental disasters that are taking place miles beneath the waves, far beyond the public gaze.

Readers are taken on a chronological journey through humanity’s developing relationship with the deep sea. The Brilliant Abyss ends by looking forwards to humanity’s advancing impacts on the deep, including mining and pollution and what we can do about them.

 

Ice River Book Cover

 

The story of one woman’s passion for glaciers. High up in the Alps, Andes and Himalaya, the glaciers are retreating. In Antarctica, thinning ice sheets are releasing meltwater into sensitive food webs, perhaps unlocking huge quantities of methane stored beneath them. The potential consequences for humanity are catastrophic.

Professor Jemma Wadham, one of the world’s leading glaciologists, guides us around the globe and the importance of ice to ecosystems and human life becomes clear. This is a memoir like no other: an eyewitness account from the frontline of the climate crisis and a love letter to glaciers.

Ice Rivers is a remarkable book. For those of us who have had the privilege of scrambling across glaciers around the world, this work will bring back sharp memories of their otherworldly beauty. For those who haven’t, this is the perfect introduction into a crucial and vanishing part of our planet. Jemma Wadham works to understand, to bear witness, and to protect – it’s hard to imagine a more fully human undertaking.’ – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature.



Wild Fell book cover

 

Lee Schofield, ecologist and site manager for RSPB Haweswater, is leading efforts to breathe life back into two hill farms and their thirty square kilometres of sprawling upland habitat. Informed by the land, its history and the people who have shaped it, Lee and his team are repairing damaged wetlands, meadows and woods. Each year, the landscape is becoming richer, wilder and better able to withstand the shocks of a changing climate.

But in the contested landscape of the Lake District, change is not always welcomed, and success relies on finding a balance between rewilding and respecting cherished farming traditions.

‘In a country defined as the seventh most nature depleted on Earth, in a region plagued by flooding and climate-chaos, here comes Lee Schofield’s brilliant book full of positive action and hope for the future. Wild Fell is a record of environmental achievement, of the RSPB’s mission to restore the places and wild nature of Haweswater. But it’s also a political tract, and throws down a gauntlet to us all to make the Lake District a national park that is genuinely worthy of the title.’ – Mark Cocker

 

 

This positive book contains everything children need to become guardians of the planet. Children can learn how to become keepers of the coasts, friends of the forests, home heroes and much more through a mix of compelling facts, creative activities and proactive tips.

Key environmental topics are clearly explained, and the easy-to-follow projects and suggestions help to put the issues in an everyday context. From reusing clothes and composting food to reducing water waste and giving wildlife a helping hand, this book will encourage children to engage with environmental problems and inspire them to take care of our planet.

Suitable for Children aged 8 to 11.

Living Together in a Fractured World - book cover

 

Mim Skinner sets out to explore communities that have rejected individualism and nuclear family life in order to embrace a more collective way of living. As she meets those who have had the courage to imagine a better world and start living it – in countercultural hippy communes, the disability led L’Arche communities, queer safe spaces, environmental campaign groups, rehab support networks and more – she asks how each is tackling the social issues of our time and finding greener and more connected ways to be together.